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Lime Rock celebrates 50 years
Fifty years ago the rumble of engines first resonated through the hills of Lime Rock Park for an audience of 6,600 that included famed television journalist Walter Cronkite. Lime Rock Park has since felt the tires of countless cars navigating its paved curves, acting as host to today's revered racing legends.

From Roger Penske—who put his name in the track's record book as a driver twice before coming back as a team owner in the American Le Mans Series—to Paul Newman, who continues to astonish with a Lime Rock Park victory in the rain at the ripe young age of 70, the list of legends is as long as it is impressive.

To celebrate the 50th year of road racing at the track, the staff at Lime Rock Park has planned a list of tributes to extend the entire season. As an homage to those who were part of making Lime Rock Park so successful throughout the years, spectators will find a tent erected on the Midway dedicated to 50 Years of Speed at Lime Rock Park, which will be featured at the upcoming American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix.

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British Moto GP - Race Preview
Casey Stoner showed in Catalunya that he has the mettle to be MotoGP world champion, but while his stamp may be all over the 2007 title, Valentino Rossi is not going to let the young Australian ride away into the sunset just yet. A five-time winner of the British MotoGP event, the Doctor knows what it takes to win at Donington.

Rossi knows that he needs to keep the pressure up on Stoner, who has shown remarkable composure in building his 14-point lead over the Italian. At this stage of the season, there is little between the Ducati and the Yamaha, meaning the composure of the man in the hot seat is vital to success.

Interestingly enough, both men have had little support from their teammates so far this year. Colin Edwards has not finished better than 10th in his past five races, while Loris Capirossi has just one podium in 2007.

It's perhaps a further demonstration of the skills of Stoner and Rossi that they are so far out in front on bikes which don't appear to have any massive advantage. The Australian has been particularly impressive on an unwieldy machine, which has tested his strength and nerve constantly.

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Super Aguri fail to overturn Sato penalty
Super Aguri have revealed that despite their best effort, Takuma Sato will incur a ten-place penalty at the French Grand Prix next month.

The Japanese driver was penalized after race stewards at Indianapolis deemed he had overtaken the Honda of Jenson Button whilst under yellow flags following the first corner collision involving David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher.

However, whilst the stewards were still deliberating the alleged infringement Sato spun out of the race on lap 13 before he had a chance to serve a potential drive-through penalty.

The stewards were then forced to carry the penalty on to the next race in France in two weeks time instead.

Sato however, protested his innocence claiming it had been Button who had passed him. “Jenson was overtaking me,” he insisted after spinning out. “It wasn’t a great day for me,” he added.


Vegas race tire barriers catch on fire UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I smell a rat.  Tires sitting by themselves not near anything catch on fire all by themselves?  I think not.  I suspect ISC hired some goons to set the tires ablaze because they tried to stop the race in Phoenix and lost in court and the tires were slated to be moved to Phoenix for the Champ Car street race.  I wouldn't put anything past that lot of characters.  Elijah Cohen

06/21/07 Investigators and environmental experts will be in downtown Las Vegas today inspecting the aftermath of a massive tire fire. Hundreds of tires, leftovers from the Las Vegas Grand Prix in March, when crews used the bundled tires to line the downtown track, caught fire Wednesday afternoon, filling the sky with thick black smoke.  Firefighters say this blaze was a dangerous one to fight because of the numerous chemicals used to make rubber. They expect the smell of burnt rubber to last a while.  Another black mark for the race - why were the tires left there?  Photos and video

No injuries were reported, Szymanski said. The cause of the blaze was under investigation, and damage estimates were unavailable late Wednesday.

The plan Wednesday night was to use a backhoe to spread out the tires, and fire crews were expected to remain on the scene into the night to try to prevent a flare-up, he said.

With fire investigators, the Clark County Health District will be looking into any environmental impact from the melted rubber, Szymanski said. The costs of dealing with any environmental damage will be billed to the owners of the tires, he said.

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Global Television in for Canada Rounds
CanWest MediaWorks announced today that it is again on course to provide racing fans their superior speed fix, providing details surrounding its live coverage of the 2007 Champ Car World Series, beginning Sunday, July 1 at 2pm ET.

Global Television presents live coverage of each key Canadian race on the Circuit - including the inaugural Champ Car Mont-Tremblant (Saint-Jovite, QC)on July 1; the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto on July 8; and the Grand Prix
Edmonton on July 22. Each race will also be simulcast on Fox Sports World Canada.


Lewis Hamilton crashes go-kart
Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who has yet to make a mistake in a grand prix race, crashed a go-kart that had been sold at a charity auction for 42,100 pounds ($83,860) on Thursday.

“Oops, that was close,” the 22-year-old McLaren rookie said after hitting the barriers on the temporary track laid out in a central London square at a promotional event organized by sponsor Vodafone.

“It’s a bit bent on the back here,” he added apologetically after inspecting the kart which was bought by a Northern Irish bidder.


NASCAR edition of TV Guide hits newsstands
TV Guide’s mid-season NASCAR issue hit newsstands today, featuring a comprehensive tear-out schedule card and four collectible covers – one each of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.

track news

Rockingham track to be auctioned
North Carolina Motor Speedway will be auctioned, according to a story in today's Richmond County Daily Journal, the local paper for the track.

The story says that Speedway Motorsports Inc. sent a letter to Rockingham Mayor Gene McLaurin notifying him of the impending sale.

The track, which was built in 1965 and used to host NASCAR Cup races, is owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. According to the paper, SMI officials say they have been unable to sell the track and that "track rentals are simply not enough to keep the facility running."

SMI bought the track in 2004 and since that time it's lone race date was moved to Texas Motor Speedway. The 1.017-mile track is used by NASCAR teams to test for Cup and Busch races and has hosted special events.

No date has been set for the auction. Scenedaily


Cleveland sports stars to serve as Grand Marshals
CLEVELAND - Three Cleveland sports heroes and the world’s top racecar drivers will come together this weekend on the shores of Lake Erie, as officials announced today that Cleveland Cavaliers legend Larry Nance and Cleveland Browns stars Joshua Cribbs and Ryan Tucker will serve as Grand Marshals of the 2007 Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank.

The Grand Marshals will participate throughout race weekend in a variety of activities at the Grand Prix, which takes place June 22-24 at Burke Lakefront Airport. All three will play a key role in the Grand Prix’s opening ceremonies before Sunday’s main event, which will also include a concert with Ian Hunter and flyover by two U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornets. At 1:00 p.m., the 750 horsepower Champ Cars will roar to life when Nance, Cribbs and Tucker declare the famous words “Drivers, Start Your Engines!”

Nance is a long-time motorsports enthusiast and owns Larry Nance Racing, a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Race Team. On display at the Grand Prix will be his ’53 Race Trailer and Pro Stock Chevy Cobalt within the D.A. Motorsports area, which will also host the Advance Auto Parts Grave Digger Monster Truck Simulator. Nance will be greeting fans all weekend, so Grand Prix attendees are encouraged to bring their Cavs memorabilia for Nance to autograph. The D.A. Motorsports area will be part of the Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Family Fun Zone at the Grand Prix.

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Q and A with Robert Kubica after crash
Robert, how do you feel?
Robert Kubica: "I feel very well and it was touching how often I was asked this question! I received so many good wishes from all over the world and want to thank everybody for this."

What have you been doing since you left Indianapolis?
Robert Kubica: "I am pretty bored with doing nothing. I am not used to resting for such a long period - no test, no PR days. But, of course, I have used the time for my fitness preparation in Italy and am also in constant contact with Josef Leberer, our team's physio."

How was the reaction in Poland?
Robert Kubica: "Although I did not go to Poland I know from my family that my accident in Montreal was quite a shock in Poland and I have received a lot of cheering messages from all my friends and fans living in Poland. The 30 minutes after the accident were very tough for my relatives in Poland until they got the information that I was not injured."

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Video: ING race index for French GP
Ahead of the Grand Prix in Magny Cours on July 10, ING issues its Race Index for the French Grand Prix, which assesses race features including the circuit itself, level of driver difficulty, engineering requirements and vehicle setup. According to the ING Race Index, which rates circuits from a low of 0 to a peak of 100 points, the French Grand Prix obtains 56 points and is ranked 15th out of 17 races, making it one of the least demanding Grand Prix of the 2007 season..


Mazda Raceway gets MotoGP approval
Following a repaving project completed earlier this month, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has been homologated by the FIM for the 2007 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, July 20-22, featuring the only appearance in North America for the prestigious MotoGP World Championship.

The FIM’s official track inspector, Claude Danis, examined the historic 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course on Wednesday, deeming it in condition to be homologated for round 11 of 18 in the 2007  MotoGP World Championship.

In order to be homologated, a track must meet exacting safety and construction standards.  Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the only road racing circuit in North America currently homologated by the FIM, the world governing body for motorcycle racing, and able to host world championship events.

“It takes tremendous resources to bring MotoGP to the USA,” said Gill Campbell, general manager and CEO of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, “The Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix only happens because of the passionate support from the fans, sponsors and motorcycle industry.”

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Massa’s Ferrari fastest on 3rd day at Silverstone
Third and final day of testing this week for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working again today at the Silverstone circuit in England. The Summer Solstice may be the longest day of the year but the teams soon found that in Britain that is no guarantee of seeing much of the sun. Clouds covered the sky for most of the day but the worst of the forecast rain failed to materialize. The morning session took place on a dry track and the day's heaviest shower conveniently took place over the lunch break.

Felipe Massa brought to a close the planned program for this test session, experimenting with new aerodynamic and mechanics solutions and working on finding the best set-up for the F2007. The Brazilian driver covered a total of 87 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.20.805.

The Scuderia will be back on track on Wednesday 27 June at Fiorano, where Luca Badoer will carry out the shakedown of the cars that will be used in the French Grand Prix, which takes place on 1st July at the Magny-Cours circuit.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1:20.805 87
 2. Rosberg Williams-Toyota (B) 1:21.274 98
 3. Alonso McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:21.284 58
 4. Piquet Renault (B) 1:21.357 108
 5. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:21.703 70
 6. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:21.933 69
 7. Glock BMW-Sauber (B) 1:22.456 80
 8. Speed Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:23.049 65
 9. Albers Spyker-Ferrari (B) 1:23.374 36
10. van der Garde Spyker-Ferrari (B) 1:25.865 5


Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Kimi pins hopes on new aero package
  • Alonso breaks McLaren 'vow of silence'
  • Other doors close for Ralf
  • Back pain keeps Button out of car
  • Bernie in clear after Valencia complaint New
  • Sato still upset with ten-place penalty New
  • Verstappen slams Albers for manager split New

Kimi pins hopes on new aero package
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen ran at the Silverstone test on Wednesday, declaring that "a lot depends" on the success of a new aerodynamic package for Ferrari's F2007 single seater.

Reports emerging from Germany, meanwhile, suggest that the famous team's mid-season slump could be linked with a major problem in the sole Maranello wind tunnel.

It is reported that the facility's rolling road broke at full speed just prior to the Spanish grand prix, causing significant damage.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the F2007 failed to win any of the three races subsequent to Barcelona.

It is not known if the tunnel is back up and running at full capacity even now, but Finn Raikkonen refused to admit that the season is a write off.

He said at Silverstone, where sporadic rain spoiled afternoon proceedings for the nine teams in attendance: "We have a new aerodynamic package and some other things (here).

"One thing is for sure: we really need better results at the upcoming two GPs than we got in North America," Raikkonen, 27, added.

Alonso breaks McLaren 'vow of silence'
(GMM) Fernando Alonso may already have broken a new 'vow of silence' imposed on McLaren drivers at Indianapolis by Ron Dennis.

The Mercedes-powered team's chairman and principal, concerned about the handling of Alonso and rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton's recent musings about each other to the press, informed reporters on the scene of the US grand prix that the pair have agreed to not talk about one another any more.

"They will only talk about each other in each other's presence," Dennis revealed at Indy, "because then there is no misconception or no misunderstanding."

World champion Alonso, however, went on Spanish radio shortly after the US grand prix - in which he finished behind Hamilton for the second time in the space of seven days - claiming that it is he who does the bulk of the car setup work for his team.

"Hamilton gets my data," the Spaniard told Cadena SER, "but I also get his data. But the one that gets the car ready on a Friday is me."

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Star Mazda Cleveland preview
FAST FACTS –  The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear race at this weekend’s Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank

      Competition in the Star Mazda Championship is so close and fierce that seven drivers are just one victory away from taking the lead.
      The current championship leader, with two poles and two wins, is 18 year-old rookie Dane Cameron of Sonoma, California.  Devin Cunningham, also a series rookie and the surprise winner in Portland two weeks ago, is currently in 8th place.  The second-place finisher in Portland was Swiss racer Natacha Gachnang, the lone female driver in the series.
      Mazda is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its legendary rotary engine, the powerplant used in the Star Mazda race cars and the company’s RX-8 sports car.  The first rotary-powered road car, the Mazda Cosmo Sport, was introduced on May 31, 1967.  Mazda has produced nearly 2 million rotary-powered vehicles since.
      Mazda, alone among major automakers, has so thoroughly embraced racing as a core corporate value, that they have created a company-sponsored ‘motorsports scholarship ladder’ reaching all the way from karting to Champ Car.
      The Star Mazda Championship is now in its 17th year as one of the most competitive and successful open-wheel driver development series.  Star Mazda graduates include F1 driver Scott Speed, Champ Car rookie standout Graham Rahal and rising IRL star Marco Andretti.

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COT to be tested at Talladega in Sept
NASCAR's decision to schedule a car-of-tomorrow test at Talladega Sept. 11, just after the Richmond cutoff for the Chase for the Championship, is probably a wise move, considering the troubles that the Talladega 500 Oct. 7 could present. NASCAR officials had pushed hard for teams to approve a car-of-tomorrow test at either Charlotte or Atlanta, to prepare for next year's even trickier car-of-tomorrow runs at the tour's midsize speedways. Brett Bodine, who, as director of cost research, is heading NASCAR’s car-of-tomorrow program, continues to wax enthusiastic about the car, despite a high center of gravity that makes it a bear in the turns. "The original design of the car of tomorrow has many characteristics of the current road-course car," Bodine said, "particularly in the fact that both are more symmetrical than the current standard oval-track cars." Winston Salem Journal


Zuber dominates Paul Ricard testing
Andreas Zuber has set an incredible precedent at the 2007 mid-season test by setting the fastest lap in every session contested. the iSport International driver was the only man to dip into the 1:17s Wednesday afternoon, to sit pretty at the top of the time sheets with a 1:17.826.

He was followed in the final times by Javier Villa who continues to shine at Circuit Paul Ricard. The Spaniard outperformed Lucas di Grassi as ART Grand Prix finally seemed to find their feet at the test, with Nicolas Lapierre fourth and Bruno Senna an impressive fifth for Arden International at this, their usual bogey track.

Pastor Maldonado continued to show the potential of the Trident package with sixth, as Mike Conway put in a stellar effort for seventh after a huge shunt yesterday morning. Ernesto Viso almost completed the perfect return to the GP2 Series. As the session ended he pipped Andi's top time. On inspection by the Track Manager however, it was found that the Venezuelan had gained an unfair advantage by using the run-off area at Turn 1 and he subsequently lost his three best laps of the session, leaving him in eighth place.

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Facts about Audi’s seventh Le Mans victory
  • A record 250,920 spectators witness Audi’s latest triumph
  • 5,600 kilometres completed without technical problems
  • Demonstration laps at Goodwood and around the Norisring

Audi prevailed with TDI power for the second year in succession at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For Audi, it was the seventh win from nine starts in the French long-distance classic. At the same time, Audi presented the German automobile industry with its 25th Le Mans victory. Allan McNish drives the Le Mans winning car at the "Festival of Speed" at Goodwood this coming weekend. The spectators at the Norisring can also see Audi’s revolutionary diesel sportscar in action: Frank Biela spools off several demonstration laps with the R10 TDI on Sunday at 1:10 p.m., just before the start of the DTM race.
Facts and figures about Audi’s latest victory at Le Mans:
250,920 spectators watched the 75th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans "live" at trackside – a new record.
The victorious Audi R10 TDI at Le Mans had the chassis number 202. This car had already won the 12-hour race at Sebring (USA) in March, followed up that victory by completing another 12 hour test at Sebring and completed a 30-hour test at Paul Ricard (France) in April.
With its seventh win – from only nine starts – Audi jumped to third position in the Le Mans all-time winners list. Only Porsche (16) and Ferrari (9) have more Le Mans victories.
Emanuele Pirro mounted the podium at Le Mans for the ninth time in succession.
Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro both celebrated their fifth win at Le Mans. As a result, they now hold third place in the all-time winners list together with Derek Bell and behind Tom Kristensen (seven wins) and Jacky Ickx (six). It was the third successive Le Mans win for Marco Werner.

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NASCAR's most valuable teams
According to Forbes, Roush Fenway Racing is the most valuable NASCAR team. Overall, however, licensing is on the decline in NASCAR, and sponsorship rates have flattened out since 2003. Looking ahead, its new eight-year, $4.48 billion TV contract with ABC, ESPN, Fox and TNT (beginning this year) pays less in the near term. Throw in the fast-rising cost of competing (budgets have grown at a double-digit clip since the '90s) and it’s no wonder that we estimate 20% of the sport’s most valuable teams are losing money.

By comparison, Forbes says the NY Yankees baseball team is valued at $1.2B

2007 Rank 2006 Rank NASCAR TEAM (# Nextel Cup/Busch cars) Value ($mil) Revenue ($mil) Profit($mil) Most Valuable Driver Car # Primary Sponsor
1 1 Roush Fenway Racing (5/4) 316 189 39.1 Matt Kenseth 17 DeWALT
2 2 Hendrick Motorsports (4/2) 297 163 38.9 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont
3 3 Joe Gibbs Racing (3/2) 173 110 23.6 Tony Stewart 20 The Home Depot
4 6 Evernham Motorsports (2/1)4 128 89 17.8 Kasey Kahne 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW
5 4 Richard Childress Racing (3/3) 124 98 19.1 Kevin Harvick 29 Shell/Pennzoil
6 8 Dale Earnhardt Incorporated (3/1) 118 96 16.6 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8 Budweiser
7 9 Robert Yates Racing (2/1) 103 77 14.0 David Gilliland 38 M&M's
8 5 Chip Ganassi Racing (3/2) 94 80 7.5 Juan Montoya* 42 Texaco/Havoline
9 14 Michael Waltrip Racing (3/1) 91 75 -2.7 Dale Jarrett 44 UPS
10 7 Penske Racing (2/1) 75 65 9.7 Ryan Newman 12 ALLTEL
11 12 Ginn Racing (3/1) 74 60 -1.7 Mark Martin 1 U.S. Army
12 NA Team Red Bull (2/0) 53 41 -5.9 Brian Vickers 83 Red Bull
13 11 Bill Davis Racing (2/0) 53 44 4.3 Dave Blaney 22 Caterpillar
14 10 Petty Enterprises (2/0) 48 41 6.6 Bobby Labonte 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker
15 13 Haas CNC Racing (2/0) 46 37 -1.9 Jeff Green 66 Best Buy
    AVERAGE: 120 84 $12.3 mil    

racing news

Schumacher confirmed for ROC
Michael Schumacher has confirmed that he will compete in the annual Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium this December.

The newly built Wembley Stadium is to be transformed into a custom-built tarmac racetrack, which will showcase a host of racing stars including Formula One’s David Coulthard and Jenson Button in a knock-out competition.

“I enjoyed the atmosphere, both with the other drivers and in the stadium where the fans seemed to clearly enjoy themselves,” said Schumacher, who is also keen to highlight the charitable work done through Race of Champions.

“I hope that my participation can help the event organizers raise even more funds and awareness for ICM (the Institute for Cerebral and Medullary Disorders), which I'm one of the founder members of and that The Race of Champions is now supporting for the fourth year."


Bridgestone Cleveland preview
Race Details: Timed event - 1 hour, 45 minutes. Track distance is 2.106 miles (3.389 kilometers).

Television Broadcast: Live - Sunday, June 24, at 1 p.m. EDT on CBS.

Bridgestone Potenza Tires Supplied:
* 546 primary (black-sidewall) dry-condition slicks; 174 alternate (red-sidewall) dry slicks; and 452 wet-condition (rain) tires.
* Each car receives seven sets of primary tires, two sets of alternates and four sets of rain tires for the race weekend.
* In a normal dry-condition race, each car must use at least one set of primary and one set of alternate Potenzas. The primary and alternate tires' construction is identical, but the alternates possess a tread compound with better grip ("softer"), making them faster but possibly not quite as durable.
* Bridgestone Motorsport engineers elected to bring the same specification of primary and alternate tires as was used at Cleveland in 2006. The primary tires represent the medium-grip road-course Potenzas available, while the alternate spec represents the softer, higher-grip road-course compound. For reference, the alternate spec this weekend served as the primary spec two weeks ago in Portland. Bridgestone is also introducing a new wet-condition tire this weekend, should the need arise. The updated modification replaces the previous more durable ("harder") of the two rain specs.

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Cleveland is one of our most important races, with the great Bridgestone race tires developed and produced nearby at our Akron Technical Center and Bridgestone continuing a tradition serving as Official Tire of the event. We'll entertain a thousand teammates on race day, with many from the Tech Center, from our own credit card company in suburban Brook Park and from many of the fine Bridgestone retailers in the Cleveland/Akron area. They're usually treated to a most entertaining race on the wide-open Cleveland course. The airport circuit can be very tough on tires, but the Potenzas we used here in 2006 responded quite well and we're confident bringing back the identical tire specs for this year will make for another exciting race weekend."

Industry News

US Pickup trucks take on Japan's best
U.S. automakers are hosting a competition in which domestic and internationally-produced full size pickup trucks are being compared side-by-side. As manufacturers of American pickup trucks face increased competition from Japanese companies, General Motors has invited U.S. and international truck companies to showcase their products for automotive critics. During the tests, which took place on GM's 4,000-acre Michigan Proving Grounds, trucks drove over a number of different road conditions to demonstrate their ability to brake, tow and accelerate. GM officials say that by comparing different trucks side-by-side, consumers benefit as they can view several competing brands simultaneously.  See video on our Home Page


Carl Haas Mtsp. Announces First Cause Marketing Program
Carl A. Haas Motorsports LLC announced today that Eli Lilly and Company and Walgreens will be co-primary sponsors of the team’s NASCAR Busch Series program for rookie Kyle Krisiloff for the remainder of the 2007 season.  Krisiloff, 21, will pilot the No. 14 Lilly / Walgreens Ford Fusion in what is the first cause marketing program at this level of a NASCAR-sanctioned racing series.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lilly and Walgreens as sponsors, but more importantly we are proud to be part of a program that has the potential to impact the lives of many people,” said Carl Haas, co-owner with Mari Hulman-George and Michael Lanigan of Carl. A. Haas Motorsports LLC.  “Diabetes, the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, affects nearly 21 million Americans, but one-third of those affected don’t know they have the disease.  We are hoping to help build awareness both on track and off.”

Walgreens selected Joslin Diabetes Center as the cause partner for this major program as part of their previously announced diabetes alliance.  Joslin, the world’s largest diabetes research center, diabetes clinic and provider of diabetes education, has helped revolutionize the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diabetes worldwide for over 100 years, and has affiliated clinical care centers and innovative programs throughout the country.

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racing news

Quotes of the week UPDATE
JEFF OLSON, SPEEDTV.com journalist
Let’s hope Sebastien Bourdais goes to F1 as expected, but let’s hope it’s with a more competitive team than Toro Rosso. His stints with Peugeot’s runner-up effort at Le Mans were nothing short of brilliant. Afterward, he said what everyone else thought, that the team’s accomplishment was as significant as a victory. During the pre-race parade, Bourdais received a welcome that would rival anything Dale Earnhardt Jr. receives at Daytona. In France, he is a superstar. Deservedly so. (Talking about his post-race 24 hours of LeMans thoughts.)

Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration
"It is not vital to Formula One to be in the United States," said Ecclestone days ahead of him trying to close an extension deal with the USGP at Indy.  "There are bigger markets for us to be in other parts of the world. We could be in India soon instead of the United States. We don't have a lot of sponsors from the U.S., no American teams and only one driver," he added.  "I get along with (Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner) Tony George and I hope we can strike a deal, but we have offers from other places in the U.S. too."

Bob Kravitz, Journalist Indy Star newspaper
"I've got advice for (Tony) George.  Learn how to say 'Bite me' in all the languages of today's F1 drivers. They are the Guests From Hell.  And it's time for them to leave. Let me mention something to F1: Nobody outside of Indy cares about this race.  And the truth is, very few inside of Indy care about this race."
Lewis Hamilton, rookie Formula One driver, McLaren-Mercedes
"What a dream! To come to two circuits that I didn't know, my first time, to really come out with such pace, to see the team moving forward always and being competitive and just to see how much work the team back home, back in Brixworth, in Woking, in Stuttgart, how hard they all work to produce the car and to develop it - they've done a fantastic job and I'm really just so thankful to them because it wouldn't be possible without them.  And the guys here, they are a great bunch of guys. They've done a fantastic job on strategy, setting up the car. So really, it's a perfect team and I'm really happy I could put the icing on the cake.  (This is) fantastic and I am really just extremely pleased and proud for the team. I would have never thought in a million years that I would be here today sitting against these drivers here and finishing, winning both races in North America. So a great leap in my career, in my life, and extremely proud and thankful for my family and to God and to the team."
Robert Kubica, Formula One driver, BMW Sauber F1
"I have seen the video now and all I can say is that I am very happy to be able to sit here now in one piece," said Kubica.  He said he crashed when Toyota's Jarno Trulli left him with "no more room" to overtake on the outside of the flat-out kink before the Casino hairpin.  "I thought Jarno would hold his normal line but then we touched and my front wing went under the car and I lost control.  But it happens -- there is no-one to blame.  This is motor sport, we all know the risks."  He looked skywards when he was asked who he thanks for being alive.  "There is no reasonable explanation for the fact that I didn't break even a finger -- you could hurt yourself more if you trip on the way up the stairs.  If I had that crash ten years ago, we would not now be talking;  so thanks to everyone at the FIA, all the safety people.  We say in Poland -- what doesn't hurt you makes you tougher.  If I wanted to play it safe, I would stay at home -- but then I would no longer be a racing driver."
Fernando Alonso, reigning Formula One World Champion, McLaren-Mercedes
"It is all sorts of things; strategy, testing, the sharing of telemetry.  They are things that I assumed would be another way but it is not the case.  It is a personal thing and nothing else -- it starts and ends here.  The team has its own ideas, its own philosophy to prepare for qualifying and the race.  You can either share it or not, and I have my own opinion as well."  Alonso told the radio transmitter Cadena Ser that he does not feel "totally comfortable" with Hamilton as his teammate. "I am with a British teammate in a British team -- and everyone knows that all of their support and their help is for him," he said.  "But I have always understood this and I do not complain about it."  Alonso agreed that the British press, preoccupied with the local hero Hamilton, is seemingly "indifferent" to him.  But "thank God the Spanish press has more respect," he added.


Cleveland fans invited to party
Back by popular demand, the Jensen duo of driver Frankie Muniz and Eric Jensen are following up their successful April party at the Hard Rock Vegas with another big event.  DRIVE ENERGY SODA has teamed up with Muniz and Jensen for their brand launch party on Saturday night of the Cleveland Grand Prix race weekend.

The DRIVE ENERGY SODA brand launch party is at Velvet Dog bar in downtown Cleveland www.velvetdogcleveland.com at 1280 West 6th Street.  Velvet Dog is a popular Cleveland destination, which features bars on four floors including a 4th floor patio with an impressive view of the warehouse district and downtown Cleveland.  Drive Energy Soda models will be on every floor providing product samples.

The party starts at 8 pm and runs through to 2 pm on Saturday June 23rd.

DRIVE ENERGY SODA is also the feature sponsor of Jensen MotorSport’s two cars competing in the Cleveland Grand Prix, driven by Frankie Muniz and Tom Sutherland.

About Drive Energy Soda
Whether you’re hitting the road for a long haul or just pulling an all-nighter to Vegas, drive will keep you awake, alert and out of the headlights of oncoming traffic. It’s the kind of slap in the face you need during the toughest parts of a road trip. Drive is a mental and physical RPM booster that gives you an extra push when you’re running out of gas. For more information visit www.driveenergysoda.com.

For details or to RSVP to attend the party, contact Jensen MotorSport via e-mail team@jensenmotorsport.com


Atlantic races on ESPN360
ESPN and Champ Car Atlantic announced today that ESPN's premiere broadband service, ESPN360.com, will deliver live online coverage of the remainder of the Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered By Mazda schedule.  Coverage will begin with the Grand Prix of Cleveland presented by LaSalle Bank this Sunday.  ESPN360.com will provide live, flag-to-flag coverage of all remaining events on the 2007 Champ Car Atlantic calendar.

  ESPN360.com’s coverage compliments television coverage that already features tape-delayed Champ Car Atlantic Championship events on ESPN2.  The network will continue to offer 30-minute, tape-delayed television coverage of the remaining events as well.

  ESPN360.com is a free broadband service for fans that get high-speed internet access from an ESPN-affiliated provider. Delivering hundreds of live events, analysis and exclusive on-demand content, ESPN360.com features more than 100 events in June alone and has featured live coverage of events including UEFA, FIFA World Cup and MLS soccer matches, college basketball, football and lacrosse games, Arena Football League games, boxing matches and more.

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ALMS puts brakes on LMP2 cars
IMSA has released a technical bulletin stating new regulation changes which will be in effect starting at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock next weekend. These changes pertain to the LMP2 category, instating the 5 percent restrictor increase which the ACO had mandated but the American Le Mans Series chose not to use at the start of the season.

1. All “LM”P2 cars must use engine air restrictors as listed in the 2007 ACO TECHNICAL REGULATIONS, Appendix 1, Section B, Articles B.1 and B.2, unless otherwise specified within this bulletin.

2. All “LM”P2 cars with 2.0 liter L4 turbocharged engines may compete with the current one (1) air restrictor with a maximum inside diameter of 45 mm. and with a maximum manifold pressure of 2700 mbar. This constitutes the first of the two permitted class sporting adjustments under Attachment 2 of the American Le Mans Series SSR.

3. The Lola/B07-46 Mazda with the 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder, MZR-R turbocharged engine may continue to compete with the waiver which was added to its homologation and permits the use of electronic throttle through the final round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series.

The bulletin outlines that the Porsche and Acura prototypes will be forced to compete with the 5 percent air restrictor increase which has been run in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Le Mans Series in P2. IMSA had initially elected not to use this new regulation prior to the start of the 2007 ALMS season but has now instated it.

Increasing the air restrictor in P2 should give a larger gap in performance between the P1 cars, meaning that it may be tougher for Porsche or Acura to claim overall wins in the series from now on.


Mark Martin to make Grand-Am debut
NASCAR driver Mark Martin will make his Daytona Prototype debut in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series at Iowa Speedway next month.  Martin will co-drive the No. 3 Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley with road racing veteran Shane Lewis in the Friday night race on July 13.  The Nextel Cup Series driver was at the team’s Columbus, Ohio shops last week for a seat fitting.

“I’ve heard good things about Iowa Speedway and know it’s Rusty Wallace’s pride and joy,” Martin said. “I'm looking forward to driving the Daytona Prototype for the first time and I'm also very excited to see and race at Iowa Speedway. Co-driving with Shane will be fun. I know he can get the job done; he will be a big asset in helping me get comfortable in the car during our test sessions. I love road racing and sports car racing. I just need to get used to the car, and with the help of Steve Southard, I feel that won't take very long.”

“We built a state-of-the-art track we call ‘America’s Place to Race,’ and it’s a privilege to have a world-class driver like Mark Martin race with us,” Clement said.  “The Rolex Series brings Daytona-style racing to Iowa’s newest and finest road course, right here at Iowa Speedway.”

Shane Lewis, who will drive with Martin in Iowa, said the combination of NASCAR and Grand-Am racing experience on the Southard team should benefit the Iowa event.

“Everyone at Southard Motorsports is really excited about having Mark joining us at Iowa, and no one is happier about it than I am,” Lewis said.  “I’ve been asked if I am worried about how little track time Mark will have in the PLP Lexus Riley before he’ll be running wheel-to-wheel in the race. I just sort of look at them funny. Mark is in the elite of the elite in the NEXTEL Cup Series. The guy was leading the points race earlier this year, and he has won the Rolex 24 twice. The man knows what he is doing. He’ll be fine in the car.”

track news

Despite lawsuit, Kentucky still hopes to land Cup race
The expansion plans are at the ready, filed away in some desk drawer waiting for the day Kentucky Speedway finally lands the NASCAR Nextel Cup race its owners have been chasing for nearly a decade. The optimist in Speedway general manager Mark Cassis believes one day the plans to add 35,000 seats to the grandstand and 50 more luxury suites will be unveiled.

And listening to him talk about the overwhelming response to the NASCAR Busch Series event at the track – more than 70,000 packed the grandstand for Saturday’s Meijer 300 – it’s hard not to share his enthusiasm or notice the gleam in his eye when he talks about seeing Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and company roar to the start-finish line.

“We’re going to get there,” Cassis said. “We need to get there.” Yet seven years after the track opened, the dream of having auto racing’s premier circuit visit the 1.5-mile oval in northern Kentucky once a year remains just that.

Despite the success of the Busch event and an almost uniformly positive response to the track’s quality from drivers and fans, the Speedway continues to “play AAA baseball in a major league park” as Cassis put it. More at Thatsracin.com


Jeff Gordon now a father
Earlier today, Jeff Gordon and Ingrid Vandebosch (pictured right one year ago after winning at Infineon Raceway) welcomed a new daughter into the world. Ella Sofia Gordon was born at 9:09 a.m., weighed 7 pounds, 1ounce and was 20 inches long. “It’s been an absolutely incredible experience,” Gordon said in a statement that appeared on www.jeffgordon.com. “Ingrid came through amazingly and we’re both really happy and overjoyed. We can’t wait to get home and start our lives together as a family.” The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will travel to Northern California later this week and is scheduled to participate in all on-track activities at Infineon Raceway, site of this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race.


Toyota again fastest at Silverstone
Panasonic Toyota Racing returned to the track today for the second day of the week's test program at Silverstone with Jarno Trulli taking over from Ralf Schumacher in the cockpit. He spent the morning continuing the set-up work for next month's British Grand Prix and also did some work on the engine and other systems. The team changed the suspension settings in the afternoon so Jarno missed some track time. Then, just as he was returning to action the British weather intervened. The track had remained dry for most of the day until a heavy shower midway through the afternoon. After a further delay Jarno was able to return to the track for half an hour of further running and he ended with the day's fastest lap. The team will return to Silverstone tomorrow with Jarno again at the helm.

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1. Trulli Toyota (B) 1:21.420 48
 2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) 1:21.548 62
 3. Wurz Williams-Toyota (B) 1:21.904 64
 4. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:22.018 58
 5. Kovalainen Renault (B) 1:22.119 53
 6. Liuzzi Toro Rosso-Ferrari (B) 1:22.365 52
 7. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) 1:22.447 33
 8. Glock BMW-Sauber (B) 1:22.481 84
 9. Sutil Spyker-Ferrari (B) 1:23.284 72


Grand Prix Arizona ticket sales to begin July 1
PHOENIX – Tickets will go on sale for the inaugural Grand Prix Arizona on July 1, 2007.  Tickets will be available at Ticketmaster.com; all Ticketmaster retail outlets and Ticketmaster charge by phone at 1-480-784-4444.

The three-day festival of speed and entertainment to be held November 30 – December 2, 2007 will feature the season-ending race in the Champ Car World Series, a Pro-Celebrity race, and a Historic Grand Prix race.  The December 2 Champ Car World Series race will feature open-wheel cars reaching speeds of up to 180 miles per hour around a 2.087-mile, 16-turn temporary street course through the heart of downtown Phoenix encompassing US Airways Arena, Chase Field and the Warehouse District.

In addition to the on-track activity, Grand Prix Arizona will be the first major motorsports event to go “green” and include a “green” expo by Earthshift ‘07; the event schedule will also include a free street party featuring concerts with superstar acts.  More details will be released on the star-studded line-ups for these events and separate tickets will be available for purchase.

“The inaugural Grand Prix Arizona is going to be a hot ticket,” said Grand Prix Arizona President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Freudenberg. “We have a variety of ticketing options so that our guests can tailor their weekend experience to suit their needs,” he said. 

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Earnhardt to host Elvis show
Budweiser today will announce that NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., “a lifelong Elvis fan,” will host the first night of the “Elvis Music & Movies” series on August 13 as part of the 30th Anniversary Elvis Week in Memphis.  Also, Earnhardt’s No. 8 Chevrolet will have an Elvis paint scheme for the September 8 Nextel Cup Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond Int’l Raceway.  NHRA driver Brandon Bernstein’s dragster will also sport the paint scheme in Indianapolis over Labor Day weekend USA TODAY

racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 6-20-07
Pos.  (LW) Driver                               Pts
1. (2) Lewis Hamilton (F1)                      9.381
2. (1) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)                8.282
3. (21) Fernando Alonso (F1)                    8.159
4. (12) Carl Edwards (NASCAR)                   7.898
5. (3) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                     7.889
6. (9) Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)                7.586
7. (4) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)                    7.511
8. (10) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                   7.363
9. (7) Sam Hornish Jr. (IRL)                    7.129
10. (31) Felipe Massa (F1)                      6.852
11. (5) Will Power (CCWS)                       6.706
12. (11) Tony Kanaan (IRL)                      6.643
13. (18) Casey Mears (NASCAR)                   6.600
14. (23) Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR)            6.576
15. (13) Dario Franchitti (IRL)                 6.540
16. (24) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)                6.510
17. (20) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)                 6.498
18. (17) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                    6.341
19. (15) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                  6.163
20. (NR) Jamie McMurray (NASCAR)                6.102

Dropped out: Matt Kenseth (NASCAR), Ryan Newman (NASCAR), Justin Wilson (CCWS), Mark Martin (NASCAR), Alex Tagliani (CCWS)

Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to compensate for the series different scoring systems. In addition, a competition difficulty factor has been included to balance the competitive depth of each series.


Drag Racing added to Cleveland weekend
The lights will be back on for racing at Burke Lakefront Airport this weekend, but not for the main event. In an attempt to add something new for race fans, race promoters have added drag racing at night, beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Amateur drag racing, featuring the Street Warriorz, is set for Friday and Saturday, along with a custom car show, which is Friday, Saturday and Sunday. With the drag racing at night, race General Manager Chuck Kosich said 40 light towers have been purchased for use now and in the future.

The drag races are on the middle runway at Burke, what race fans will recognize as the straightaway going into the first turn. The lights will be used on that straight, and also for lighting the midway behind the grandstands.

Live and learn:

The recent drag racing tragedy on a Tennessee highway should not dissuade fans from watching the drag races at Burke from inside the newly created infield.

"What we've got are street-legal cars, not the specialty cars," Kosich said. "There will also be a debris fence up and the spectators will be behind the debris fence."

Value pricing:

Fans interested in just the late-night action with the drag racing can purchase a Twilight Pit Pass for $5 after 8 p.m. Friday and $10 after 7 p.m. Saturday. This allows access to the infield and closer to the race cars. When combined with a $5 general admission ticket (good for all day), fans can see the Champ Car and support events during the day, plus the drag racing at night.

Those who purchase a regular infield pass during the day ($20 Friday, $25 Saturday) can use their passes during twilight.

track news

Iowa Speedway the first to incorporate Alternative Backup Structure
Iowa Speedway has broken the safety barrier, so to speak.

The SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) Barrier – developed by the Indy Racing League and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Midwest Roadside Safety Facility to reduce the severity of impacts by race cars -- was first installed in all four turns at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002. Subsequent installations of the system around the globe have been retro-fit to existing concrete walls of racetracks.

That changed with the design and construction of Iowa Speedway, which hosts the IndyCar Series and Indy Pro Series this weekend for the first time. At the suggestion of Indy Racing League senior technical director Phil Casey, the track became the first to install the new Alternative Backup Structure around the entire perimeter of the 0.875-mile racing surface.

The new system incorporates anchored steel posts (67.2 inches apart) with bundles of closed-cell polystyrene foam between them and the (40-inch tall, 28-feet long) square structural steel tubing (8 inches each, stitch welded at seams every 12 inches) that comprises the "soft wall."

The original SAFER Barrier design was based on the theory that the barrier absorbs a portion of the kinetic energy released when a race car makes contact with the wall. The energy is dissipated along a longer portion of the wall, instead of the car recoiling onto the track. All 12 ovals on the IndyCar Series schedule contain the SAFER Barrier.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • 'Always a No.1 at McLaren' - Montoya
  • Briatore backs Alonso to win 2007 title
  • Lewis could 'destroy' Alonso - Lauda
  • Bad weather expected for day two in UK
  • Fittipaldi to Flavio - 'give Piquet his debut'
  • Alonso at McLaren won't last - expert
  • Alonso says Hamilton relationship 'good'
  • Hamilton factor to help save British GP
  • Briatore to stay at Renault in 2008

'Always a No.1 at McLaren' - Montoya
(GMM) Juan Pablo Montoya has backed Fernando Alonso's recent complaint that Lewis Hamilton is receiving more support from his McLaren chiefs this season.

The Colombian, now a fixture of America's NASCAR scene, joined the Woking based outfit as one of F1's brightest stars at the beginning of 2005 but brusquely left mid-way through last season after failing to shine alongside Kimi Raikkonen.

Montoya observed in an interview with the Associated Press this week that rookie Hamilton, albeit partnered at the Mercedes-powered outfit by F1's reigning world champion, is "clearly the number 1 on the team".

He explained: "But there's always a No. 1 at McLaren. I mean, Fernando Alonso said it himself."

Montoya admitted that championship leader and back to back winner Hamilton is a "really good" driver but pointed out that team boss Ron Dennis supported the 22-year-old since he was a child.

"He has an advantage that ... there really always is a favorite driver on the team," Montoya said.

Briatore backs Alonso to win 2007 title
(GMM) Fernando Alonso's former team boss has backed the Spaniard to recover and beat Lewis Hamilton to the title in 2007.

Renault principal Flavio Briatore, who guided his ex-protege into formula one before the 25-year-old switched to McLaren this year, rejected theories that Alonso has "changed" since he became a high-earning double world champion.

"Like many drivers, he has had some difficulty adapting to a new team," the Italian told the Spanish newspaper Diario As.

"He has gone from Michelin to Bridgestone, whereas Hamilton already knows the tires from GP2.

"People exaggerate everything. I do not believe that Fernando has changed and I believe that he will win the championship.

"He has to be calm, to focus on himself, forget everyone else, and he will win it."

Briatore said there was a point last year when Alonso looked surely defeated by his championship rival Michael Schumacher.

"Everybody thought it was lost," he said, "but we proved that it was not. So for him to do it again he has to do what he did again -- to think about his work in the car and not get distracted by outside pressures.

"He does not have to read the English press, nor the press of his own country.

"But I don't believe the British journalists are going to do him any harm. That is not the problem."

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F1 drivers to play soccer for charity
The Formula One drivers will once again play a football game for charity and this the week before the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Michael Schumacher, President of the Nazionale Piloti, Felipe Massa, Giancarlo Fisichella and Jarno Trulli will be playing against the Belgian stars with Jean-Marie Pfaff (former goalkeeper of Bayern Munchen and the Belgian national team), Stefan Everts (10 times World Champion in motocross racing) and many others.

The football match will be held at the 'Edmond Machtens Stadion' in Brussels on Wednesday 12 September. The proceeds of the game will go to the Unesco-organisation 'Kinder in Not' and to CAP48, an organization for people with a handicap.

For more information you can visit the website of the event: www.championsinpoleposition.be


Heylen Completes Road America Test
Indianapolis, IN, – After an outstanding performance on Monday, Jan Heylen #34 Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium / Cosworth / DP01 / Bridgestone and the Conquest Racing team had a disappointing second day of testing at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. After a good start and quick times in the morning, the crew went to work testing out a few planned adjustments. Unfortunately, the car met some mechanical gremlins in the afternoon that stopped the Team progression. The Conquest team now plans to diagnose and fix the issues and have the car in peak performance for the race this weekend.

“The day started out with some very quick lap times for the team,” said Heylen. “I was excited to see where the day would take us. We made a couple of minor alterations because we had planned to test some of the settings and they didn’t end up working out for us. We tried to recover after our lunch break but ended up having to finish our day early. Overall it was a great test for us. We learned a lot and improved the car since Portland. I’m now looking forward to the race in Cleveland since it is one of my favorite tracks and I had a strong finish last year.”

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Roberts to sit out MotoGP race
In a big change to the planned Team Roberts line-up for this weekend’s Nickel & Dime British Grand Prix, the team will only run a one rider team at Donington Park. The big twist in the tale? The sole rider will not be Kenny Roberts Jr but brother Kurtis.

The team has taken the decision to replace Kenny Roberts Jr until the next new chassis is completed, currently being designed and manufactured at the team’s base in Banbury, England.

“It’s been a difficult start to the season for all of us. We have found some areas that we hope can improve the chassis side of things, but unfortunately it takes time to design and manufacture the components,” explained Team Manager Chuck Aksland. “From Kenny Jr’s side, it has been very frustrating, as the fundamentals of the machine seemed fine since we started testing. However, competitive lap times have not been not been there. He is the same rider that put our bike on the podium twice last year and we thought heading into this season we could do better. For whatever reason we have not. There have been a lot of changes, engine, tire rules, etc. It took some time for us to get the 990cc right and we are confident that we can turn the 800cc around as well. We just need some more time.

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Danica listed on Forbes Celebrity 100
What does Danica Patrick have in common with Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and the cast of "Grey's Anatomy?" All are listed among Forbes Magazine "Celebrity 100" list of the world's most powerful and best-paid celebrities.

Patrick, the only American race driver to make the list, is ranked 95th on the list which includes athletes, actors, authors and other entertainers. She is one of four racing personalities listed. The others are retired Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, current Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen and MotoGP standout Valentino Rossi. Patrick Dempsey, who co-owns IndyCar Series team Vision Racing, is also listed as part of the cast of "Grey's Anatomy."

Rankings are generated by combining earnings with other metrics: Web mentions on Google, press clips compiled by LexisNexis, TV/radio mentions by Factiva, and the number of times a celebrity's face appeared on the cover of 32 major consumer magazines.


Conway sidelined after GP2 accident
Mike Conway, British GP2 driver with Super Nova Racing, emerged unscathed from a testing accident caused by a throttle sticking open at Paul Ricard this morning, and with major damage to his race car from a head on impact into the Armco, he was unable to take part in the afternoon session.

The GP2 all-team two day test session at the Paul Ricard circuit in France is one of the few opportunities for Conway to gain additional valuable track experience in preparation for the upcoming races in France, England, Germany and Hungary. With the Sevenoaks based driver looking forward to his home race at Silverstone in support of the British Grand Prix he was disappointed to have lost testing miles following the incident.

He said after the accident, "The Hans device certainly did its job today as I only had a small facial scratch and a bit of a headache, but no injuries after a fairly big impact. It's written off the car, so we're having a brand new tub sent out tonight and I hope to be back in action again tomorrow."

Conway is expected to return to the track tomorrow and following the test he will return to the UK, attending F1 testing at Silverstone with sponsors and then heading to the Goodwood Festival of Speed with Lloyds TSB Private Banking, to drive a Lamborghini in the Supercar runs at the event.


Tryson Takes Over as Kurt Busch's Crew Chief
Pat Tryson will become crew chief effective immediately of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Kurt Busch. Tryson replaces Troy Raker who has served as interim crew chief of the team since Texas. Troy will return to his previous role within the Penske engineering department. Tryson, a 10-year veteran Nextel Cup crew chief, led Mark Martin to the Chase for the Nextel Cup in each of the last three seasons while working for Roush Fenway Racing. Most recently, he served as crew chief for Greg Biffle and the #16 team. Penske Racing PR

industry news

Cerberus gets green light to buy Chrysler for $7 billion
Federal antitrust regulators have cleared Cerberus Capital Management's $7 billion purchase of Chrysler, people close to the deal said Tuesday.

The Federal Trade Commission made its decision before the end of a standard 30-day review, according to two people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Early termination of an FTC review typically signifies there will be no conditions placed on the deal.


Champ Car teams wrap up testing at Road America
Elkhart Lake – Testing finished up at Elkhart Lake’s Road America today with Sebastien Bourdais (#1 McDonald’s Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) fastest on the track. The three time series champion flew straight from the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to the top of the time sheets at Road America on the final day of testing.

Bourdais lapped the 4.048-mile track in 1m42.60 seconds nearly half a second quicker than his teammate Graham Rahal (#2 Medi|Zone Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone) who was second fastest at 1m43.00 seconds.

“I’ve been awake for 24 hours after racing a 24 hour race so I’m a little tired,” said the Frenchman Bourdais. “Today was just okay, we didn’t get all the laps in we wanted to, so we still have some miles to test with later. We went through the main things we wanted and the baseline setup on the car was good. We made a small change and put up a pretty quick lap right before the break. In the afternoon the conditions changed so we weren’t able to improve much, but I think we learned some things.”

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Hitachi Power Tools named official sponsor of the IndyCar Series
The IndyCar Series announced a partnership with Hitachi Koki U.S.A., Ltd, the Atlanta-based manufacturer of an extensive line of professional grade power tools and accessories for residential construction, commercial construction, tradesman and do-it-yourselfers, which names Hitachi Power Tools the Official Power Tool of the IndyCar Series.

As part of its partnership with the IndyCar Series, Hitachi Power Tools will sponsor the IndyCar Series Technical Inspection Crew, a team of 15 individuals responsible for inspecting all IndyCar Series cars on race weekends. The technical inspection crew as well as the IndyCar Series inspection areas in the paddock and along pit road during qualifying will be branded with the Hitachi Power Tools marks.

In addition, Hitachi will sponsor the IndyCar Series Chief Mechanic Award, a $25,000 end-of-year award presented to the championship-winning team's chief mechanic. The IndyCar Series partnership is part of a multi-faceted activation around the series that includes sponsorship of the No. 20 Vision Racing Honda-powered Dallara driven by Ed Carpenter.
"We welcome Hitachi Power Tools to the IndyCar Series and look forward to working with them to market and promote the partnership," said Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division of the Indy Racing League. "The high-tech engineering of Hitachi's power tool line results in outstanding performance and makes it a natural partner for the speed and technology offered by the IndyCar Series."

Hitachi Power Tools will market and promote its IndyCar Series relationship at retail locations with special promotions. Hitachi Power Tools will utilize the IndyCar Series trademark and logo on advertising and point-of-purchase displays throughout the season.

"Working with the IndyCar Series in 2007 as the Official Power Tool sponsor offers Hitachi an outstanding opportunity to promote some of the most technologically advanced, widest array of professional power tools available to fans," said Tim Young, Hitachi Power Tools Director of Marketing. "The partnership is great because technology is the lifeblood of Hitachi Power Tools and the IndyCar Series."


Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports to run road course races
Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports (RDM) announced that Commonwealth will sponsor the #91 Toyota Camry driven by Marc Goossens at Infineon Raceway on June 24, 2007. "We are very pleased to be associated with a company so diverse in their market area as Commonwealth," said Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports co-owner Eddie D'Hondt. "We anticipate bringing the NASCAR fan more in touch with the in-style clothing lines Commonwealth has to offer. Commonwealth and NASCAR will be a great fit for each other." In their initial partnership, Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports and Commonwealth will attempt their first "Car of Tomorrow" race at a road course. Marc Goossens brings a diversified racing background to the team and is looking forward to being back behind the wheel of a stock car. "I am excited to be driving the #91 Toyota Camry for Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports and representing Commonwealth," said Goossens. "Combining my driving experience with the leadership and technology of RDM should be a winning combination." Born in Belgium, Goossens has raced all over the world and is currently the lead driver of the #91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley in the Rolex Grand American Series. Goossens is known for his ability to quickly adapt to any type of car and track. Having started his racing career in go-karts, Goossens quickly established himself at a young age winning the 1991 British Formula Ford Championship before going on to win numerous races and a championship in the FIA F3000 series. For more information or to shop visit www.cmonwealth.com Riley D'Hondt Motorsports PR


NASCAR Licensing Executive joins Motorsports Authentics
Mark Dyer, a seasoned licensing executive with over 25 years in sports business, has been named president and chief executive officer of Motorsports Authentics, the merchandise retailer owned in a 50/50 joint venture between International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI). Dyer, 48, who currently serves as vice president of licensing and consumer products for NASCAR, will assume his duties immediately, and will report to the Motorsports Authentics Board of Managers, which is comprised of ISC President Lesa France Kennedy; SMI Executive Vice President, National Sales and Marketing, Marcus Smith; ISC Chief Marketing Officer Roger VanDerSnick; and SMI Board Member Mark Gambill. Former President Ruth Crowley has elected to leave Motorsports Authentics to pursue a new business opportunity. She will assist Dyer in the coming week(s) to ensure a smooth transition. As VP at NASCAR, a position held since 2002, Dyer led the day-to-day management of the sanctioning body's Charlotte operation. In this position, Dyer oversaw all aspects of a $2.1 billion industry that now has companies putting the NASCAR brand on a broad spectrum of quality products. In addition to traditional licensing, Dyer also oversaw NASCAR's automotive aftermarket licensing program, retail program development, promotional marketing, publishing and The NASCAR Foundation. Finally, Dyer was NASCAR's lead negotiator throughout the Hall of Fame site-selection process. Dyer said, "I have been involved in the motorsports industry for over a decade and I welcome this opportunity to work more closely with drivers, teams and distributors to further elevate the popularity of the sport. It has been an honor to work with NASCAR and to be part of growing its brand. I look forward to building upon my prior experiences and working closely with the strong team already in place to enable Motorsports Authentics to flourish as the pre-eminent source for quality licensed merchandise." More info at www.motorsports-authentics.com, which is based in Concord, NC, is a 50/50 joint venture between International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc.

Racing News

Sanders dies after Mondello crash
A motorcycle racer has died following a crash on the first lap of Sunday's Supersport race at the British Championship meeting at Mondello Park.  Guy Sanders, a former R6 Cup winner, sustained head and chest injuries after falling from his machine and then being struck by other riders.  He was taken to Tallaght Hospital in Dublin but died from his injuries.  Steven Neate, who suffered a minor head injury and fractures in the same incident, remains in hospital.


iSport team dominated Paul Ricard testing
Pos  Driver                Team                       Time
 1.  Andreas Zuber         iSport International       1:18.295
 2.  Timo Glock            iSport International       1:18.750
 3.  Giorgio Pantano       Campos Grand Prix          1:18.889
 4.  Pastor Maldonado      Trident Racing             1:18.934
 5.  Luca Filippi          Super Nova International   1:18.973
 6.  Javier Villa          Racing Engineering         1:19.027
 7.  Roldan Rodriguez      Minardi Piquet Sports      1:19.154
 8.  Michael Ammermueller  ART Grand Prix             1:19.159
 9.  Ernesto Viso          FMS International          1:19.387
10.  Borja Garcia          Durango                    1:19.417
11.  Adrian Zaugg          Arden International        1:19.486
12.  Kohei Hirate          Trident Racing             1:19.601
13.  Nicolas Lapierre      DAMS                       1:19.630
14.  Karun Chandhok        Durango                    1:19.698
15.  Vitaly Petrov         Campos Grand Prix          1:19.723
16.  Bruno Senna           Arden International        1:19.814
17.  Lucas Di Grassi       ART Grand Prix             1:19.829
18.  Andy Soucek           DPR                        1:19.876
19.  Jason Tahinci         FMS International          1:19.911
20.  Sergio Hernandez      Racing Engineering         1:19.913
21.  Sakon Yamamoto        BCN Competicion            1:19.938
22.  Alexandre Negrao      Minardi Piquet Sports      1:20.000
23.  Henki Waldschmidt     DAMS                       1:20.098
24.  Ho Pin Tung           BCN Competicion            1:20.261
25.  Christian Bakkerud    DPR                        1:20.456
26.  Mike Conway           Super Nova International   1:21.390


GP of Cleveland Announces Strong Corporate Support
CLEVELAND - When the turbocharged rocketships of the Champ Car World Series roar back to the shores of Lake Erie this weekend for the 2007 Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by LaSalle Bank, the event will be supported by one of the strongest rosters of corporate sponsors in years. In the event's second year under new owner Mi-Jack Promotions, the Grand Prix has experienced a large increase in corporate hospitality and corporate sponsorship for this year's event, which takes place June 22-24 at Burke Lakefront Airport.

In addition to new presenting sponsor LaSalle Bank, the Grand Prix announced today the complete sponsor lineup for the 2007 event: American Interiors, AutoMart.com, BeaveRun Motorsports Complex, BP, Bridgestone, Budweiser, Chandon, Cleveland CVB, Coca Cola, ComDoc, Crocker Park, Cuyahoga County, Full Throttle Kustomz, Gehl, Hudson & Keyse LLC, Hyatt Regency Cleveland, Jackson Hewitt, Johnsonville Brats, LaSalle Bank, Marc's, Mazda, Metro Life Flight, Ohio Technical College, Cleveland Area Porsche Dealers, Shearer's Snacks, Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes, State Farm, University Hospitals and Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, U.S. Army, Winking Lizard, and Zeppe's Pizzeria.

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Petty ready to tell all
This weekend, Kyle Petty and the #45 Wells Fargo Dodge head to the 10-turn, 1.99-mile Infineon Raceway, located in Sonoma (Calif.) for Sunday’s SaveMart 350.  

Petty will give live, in-car analysis during Sunday’s race as part of his role with TNT this summer.  Petty’s love for road course racing put him back into the #45 Dodge for this weekend’s event.  He will be giving viewers one of the most unique experiences as to what it’s like racing a Nextel Cup car in road course competition.

The countdown to 800 career starts picks back up this weekend.  The road to Indianapolis, the location of Petty’s 800th career start, will roll through Sonoma for career start 799.  Petty has 16 starts at Sonoma with two top-10 and one top-five finish.

Comments from Petty as he prepares for Sunday’s SaveMart 350:

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Boris Said set for Toyota/Save Mart 350
With its striking red and black #60 Ford Fusion, Boris Said and the SoBe No Fear Energy NASCAR Nextel Cup team are set to compete in this weekend’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, round 16 of the 36-round 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

The first of two road course races present on the 2007 Nextel Cup schedule, the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will take place on the picturesque 12-turn, 1.99-mile Infineon Raceway circuit. Located just 30 minutes north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the sweeping Infineon circuit is etched out of a 1,600-acre parcel of land situated in the lush Sonoma Valley.

Having qualified and competed at both the 2007 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway and the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway — easily, two of the most prestigious races of the year — the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will be the third race of the season for the Sobe No Fear Energy team — and a race the organization is very much looking forward to.

For not only is driver Boris Said renowned for his deft driving skills on the Infineon road course — Said placed ninth at Infineon in 2006 — he will go there to compete in NASCAR’s new Car of Tomorrow. Already raced upwards of eight times in 2007 — all on ovals — the 110-lap (218.9-mile) Toyota/Save Mart 350 will mark the premiere of the Car of Tomorrow on a road course. Said’s road course skills, in tandem with the new car — a car Crew Chief Frank Stoddard and crew have spent a significant amount of time testing and developing — provides the team with a genuine shot at not only a top 10 finish, but perhaps even a chance at driving down victory lane.


USGP Postscript
Lewis Hamilton and the fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had a good rapport right from the time he turned his first laps in practice June 15.
Hamilton waved to the cheering fans on his cool-down laps and from the front of the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes pit garage all weekend.

The crowd at the Brickyard on Race Day, June 17, gave the rookie a rousing reception when he won the United States Grand Prix.

"It was great to see that there was a big crowd here," Hamilton said, "and they're all very, very supportive; a lot of British flags out there, which is fantastic for me. I get a lot of energy from that."

Racer reunion: Alex Lloyd finished second in both the Liberty Challenge races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the United States Grand Prix weekend. Leaving the podium after celebrating his second place in the race June 17, Lloyd found his good friend and fellow Englishman Lewis Hamilton waiting to congratulate him.

"I haven't seen (Lewis) since his surprise 21st birthday, which was some time ago," Lloyd said. "My family got to see his dad during yesterday's race, but I hadn't had a chance to catch up with him.

"A lot of people doubted that he could be so good, so fast. But this is what he's been groomed for. I knew that he would have a lot of success. He's had a lot of success since I've seen him, so I had a lot to congratulate him about."

The pair became friends when they raced karts. In 2003, they competed in the Formula Renault UK championship where Hamilton beat Lloyd for the title.

Friends win at Indianapolis: Lewis Hamilton has long been a fan of the Indianapolis 500, and he was thrilled when his friend and fellow British driver Dario Franchitti won the 91st edition of the "500." Three weeks later, Hamilton won the United States Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's F1 track.

"Just to win any race in Formula One is obviously extremely satisfying," Hamilton said. "But obviously I've watched the Indy 500 many times, and to see Dario finally win, I was extremely happy for him because I know him quite well.

"To really continue that (winning at Indianapolis) and to have both Brits doing well, I think it's great for the country, and I'm extremely proud." [Editor's Note: Dario Franchitti is from Edinburgh, Scotland, not England] 

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Ralf surprise quickest at Silverstone test day 1
Following its trip to North America for the grands prix in Montreal and Indianapolis, Panasonic Toyota Racing today returned to action in Europe. The team has a three-day test scheduled this week at the UK circuit of Silverstone. The track will play host to the British Grand Prix in less than three weeks so this test gives teams the chance to complete some useful mileage at the Northamptonshire venue. For Toyota Ralf Schumacher was driving today, working on different systems but concentrating on set-up work for next month's race. He also carried out some qualifying runs and even recorded the fastest time of the day. The team will continue testing at Silverstone tomorrow with Jarno Trulli at the wheel.

Ralf Schumacher
"In general it was a successful day and we made it through everything that we had planned. We were concentrating on set-up work, primarily targeted at the British Grand Prix. We also looked at some different aero settings and did some qualifying runs. The conditions were very good, particularly in the morning, although the wind picked up in the afternoon. We had one stoppage after lunch while we changed some suspension settings but overall things went well."

Pos  Driver        Car                      Time
 1.  R. Schumacher Toyota              (B)  1:22.794
 2.  de la Rosa    McLaren-Mercedes    (B)  1:22.915
 3.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault    (B)  1:23.329
 4.  Kovalainen    Renault             (B)  1:23.510
 5.  Badoer        Ferrari             (B)  1:23.768
 6.  Heidfeld      BMW                 (B)  1:23.841
 7.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  (B)  1:24.125
 8.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota     (B)  1:24.665
 9.  van de Garde  Spyker-Ferrari      (B)  1:25.391
10.  Valles        Spyker-Ferrari      (B)  1:25.394


Earnhardt Jr. signs Adidas deal
NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr, has been working on an apparel deal with Adidas that could put his own line of ClimaCool wear in major sporting goods retailers.

NASCAR-related apparel and merchandise is unavailable in stores, but Adidas' relationships could provide a significant distribution push for Earnhardt's apparel, according to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service.

The Adidas deal is thought to be a separate agreement from Earnhardt Jr.'s new relationship at Hendrick Motorsports.

Earnhardt Jr. announced last week that he will drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, giving that team a stable of drivers that also includes Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.


NASCAR Michigan TV ratings
NASCAR TV ratings continued their two-year long plummet with last Sunday's Michigan 400 on TNT garnering a 3.1 overnight rating, down 23% from last year's event.


Ferrari to put new aerodynamic package to the test
The last few rounds haven’t been very successful for the Scuderia Ferrari team with the back to back North American events not proving to be as successful as originally planned. While rivals at McLaren have enjoyed two one two finishes, the Maranello based squad have had one third, one fourth and one fifth placed finish to their name.

However, this week the team will be at the Silverstone circuit where they hope to begin the fight back by validating a new aerodynamic package ahead of round eight at the Magny Cours circuit in France.

"We have a completely different aerodynamic package to try at Silverstone," says Ferrari's head of track operations, Luca Baldisserri. "So hopefully we can have another step aerodynamically. We hope that the weather will be with us to at the moment we have quite a lot of rainfall forecast."

Set-up changes might also provide pace…

"That could be a solution, an easy solution. If we can find, with the set-up, the two or three tenths that at the moment we are missing, they will be welcome and it would be a straightforward solution. Unfortunately I don't think they are all there. We have to understand, investigate all the areas: aerodynamically, mechanically but on the engine as well."


No fourth day for wet Silverstone test
(GMM)  Rain is likely to affect all three days of this week's major formula one group test at Silverstone in rural England.

Local forecasts predict the heaviest rain on Thursday, but dark clouds will surely also greet nine of the sport's eleven teams as they start running on the former World War II airfield on Tuesday morning.

Unlike at the other wet tests this year, however, the Silverstone session will not simply be extended for a fourth day due to rain.

The teams have provisionally agreed to scrap the fourth-day proviso for the upcoming Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps sessions, and the test agreement next year will definitively limit each group test to three days, irrespective of the weather.


Putting out the McLaren friction 'fire'
(GMM)  The so-called 'civil war' between Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso this year has continued to bubble away in the days after the US grand prix.

Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport agreed that 22-year-old rookie Hamilton's performance at Indianapolis was "masterful" but claims that McLaren "benefited him with a better strategy" than Alonso.

The Spanish publication El Pais added: "It was not just the two points -- the thing that hurt the Spaniard (Alonso) the most was the psychological effect".

Mercedes' Norbert Haug, meanwhile, played down Alonso's frustrated swerve at the team's pit wall last Sunday but admitted that the "gesture" was out of character for a McLaren driver.

But quadruple world champion Alain Prost blames McLaren for any tension inside the Woking based team's garages.

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Hamilton boosting British TV numbers UPDATE (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's exciting assault on the formula one world championship this year is helping the sport to ride a wave of bolstered TV ratings.

Even in the wake of Michael Schumacher's absence in 2007 - not to mention the loss of other big names including Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve - almost all grand prix broadcasters around the world are recording higher figures in each race.

"What we have now is even more exciting than anything Michael Schumacher gave us and he gave us a lot," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

Unsurprisingly, Britain's ratings boost has been the most impressive, with 7.7 million tuning in to ITV for Hamilton's maiden win in Montreal compared with 5.4m for the same race one year ago.

When the McLaren driver won again at Indianapolis a week later, 7.3m were watching -- a full 2 million higher than in 2006.  Monaco and Spain, meanwhile, were both 1 million spectators higher than last year.

The increase in Germany is more modest, but - considering the popularity of the retired Schumacher - significant.  The biggest audience for RTL's free-to-air coverage of a race last year was 7.3 million, yet the US grand prix attracted 7.7m Germans to their television sets.

Even in Fernando Alonso's home country, the ratings are growing.  5.3 million Spaniards watched Telecinco's Indianapolis coverage, compared with 2.7m for the Primera Division football match between Seville and Villarreal.

06/19/07 Lewis Hamilton’s exciting assault on the Formula One World Championship has boosted viewing figures for ITV. Almost all of the ratings are higher for the first seven races in 2007 compared with the equivalent grands prix in 2006.

ITV had a peak of 7.7 million for the Canadian Grand Prix, compared with 5.4 million for the same race last season, and 7.3 million for the United States Grand Prix compared with 5.4 million in 2006. Last year, the events were held slightly later in the year.

The Monaco and Spanish Grands Prix, which were held on similar dates in both seasons, attracted an extra million viewers compared with 2006.

However, Kevin Alavy, the head of analytics at Initiative Sports Futures, which collates international figures, said: “We are still examining all the data, but we have not heard anecdotally of any other significant increase in viewing around the world.” The Times Online

tv news

Dario Franchitti to be on the Late Show with David Letterman
If you missed Dario Franchitti's guest appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman after Dario won the Indy 500, the show will be replayed on Wednesday night, June 20.  The program airs on CBS at 11:35 pm - 12:35 am ET in most time zones.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone.


Alonso has only one problem - Hamilton
Having pulled strings to play Long Island's most prestigious golf courses, Shinnecock Hills and Centennial, en route to Indianapolis, you could be forgiven for thinking that all in Ron Dennis's garden was rosy. The McLaren team principal is a meticulous man and can therefore afford to relax once in a while, but the coming months will test every last ounce of managerial skill gleaned from 40 years in the sport.

Three weeks ago, Dennis described Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton's one-two in Monte Carlo as "a perfect race". Last week in Montreal it was Hamilton's turn to deliver perfection, a debut victory of such composure that it mocked his inexperience. Yesterday at Indianapolis was an encore. Hamilton’s win at the home of American motor sport was as accomplished as his Canadian success. This time there were no safety car interruptions to spoil his rhythm. Instead he had to cope with the race-long presence of a double world champion teammate determined to impose himself.

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Team Australia fastest in Elkhart Lake UPDATE A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, 4-5 seconds off the track record? With this being a proper road course, I would have figured the new Panoz would have smashed the old record a la Laguna Seca. It isn't even remotely close! What gives?  Derek Hughes, Kentucky 

Dear Derek, It was not qualifying day, so we predict the cars will be faster in August when they return and run the softer "red" tires. With that said, the Panoz creates a lot of downforce and has a fair amount of drag.  Road America, being so high speed, is a fairly low downforce setup track.  Although the Panoz will break most track records this year (or at least come close), Road America may not be one of them due to the many long straights.  For this same reason, the Panoz in the current configuration, would not be super fast on ovals either.  Mark C.

06/19/07 Team Australia will enter this weekend’s Cleveland Grand Prix on a high after topping the timesheets in testing at the Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin today.

Australian Will Power set the fastest time of the day around the spectacular 4.048-mile (6.515-kilometre) road course, one of 11 cars testing at Road America today.

Power posted a time of 1m43.75secs in the #5 Aussie Vineyards Team Australia DP01, narrowly beating his rookie team-mate Simon Pagenaud, who was an outstanding second-fastest with a time of 1m43.87secs.

The Aussie Vineyards cars of Power and Pagenaud were the only two entries to break the 1min44second barrier in today’s testing, giving Team Australia a huge boost ahead of this weekend’s fifth round of the championship in Cleveland Ohio. The speed shown by Team Australia today also puts Power and Pagenaud in a strong position for Round 10 of the series at the Road America circuit on August 10-12.

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Doornbos hops from F1 car to Champ Car
Minardi Team USA rookie, Robert Doornbos spent today testing at Road America following a busy weekend in Indianapolis. Robert was on hand for the U.S. Grand Prix as Red Bull Racing’s test and reserve driver, and it seems he doesn’t ever quit working.

The Minardi Team USA squad traveled to the heart of Wisconsin Sunday, June 17 for their final testing event before the busy Champ Car season re-commences next weekend at the Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by La-Salle Bank. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin is the home of Road America, which will host Round 10 on the Champ Car World Series. Robert did over 200 miles of testing, went through various set-up changes and familiarized himself with the challenging four mile track.

Robert Doornbos 1.44.30
“This is a new part of the U.S. for me; I’ve heard a lot of good things about Road America. Some of the other drivers have compared this circuit to one of the greatest circuits in the world, in my opinion, Spa Francorchamps in Belgium. They were right, it is an amazing place, and I got used to it quickly, which is one of my strongest points since all of these circuits are new to me. We had a good car right from the start, and we tried different set-ups to use both here in August, and at Cleveland and Mont-Tremblant. In the next two days, I’m going to try to see some more of the Mid-West, and do some training to prepare for Cleveland.”

Keith Wiggins, Team Co-Owner
“Things went according to plan; we had a good test and accomplished what we needed to do. They obtained good information in preparation for the race, and also allowed Robert to learn the track. We are glad to be in the top three today, and we are looking for both drivers to have good performances in Cleveland.” Team Minardi USA


Bahrain races to a $1 billion F1 bonanza
Bahrain has cashed in to the tune of over $1 billion (BD378 million) from Formula One, it was confirmed yesterday.

The milestone figure was reached during the last Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in April, Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) officials revealed at a Press conference at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa.

Bahrain first hosted Formula One in 2004 and BIC chief executive Martin Whittaker said the event had become a resounding success, attracting more spectators and viewers each year.

He said an extra 20,000 air travelers boosted traffic at Bahrain International Airport by 10 per cent during the last race, while the amount of advertising went up by 15pc.

Mr. Whittaker described the 2007 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix as the most successful so far, with early figures indicating the number of TV viewers around the world is likely to far outstrip the 540 million that watched the race last year.

He also revealed that temporary grandstands will increase the capacity of the BIC by 2,000 for next year's Grand Prix. Gulf Daily News


5 laps in the lead!
Renault rookie racer Heikki Kovalainen completed his first laps in the lead of a Formula One race just seven events into his rookie season in the sport when he led the charge around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon. Although he didn’t win, the young Finn ended the day with a strong result and has since spoken about the race with the team’s official website….

What a race! How are you feeling?
I’m feeling good, I think it was the best possible result given that McLaren and Ferrari had a trouble-free afternoon. I think the car was quick enough to beat Heidfeld on pace. It was nice to stay in front of Kimi in the first stint too, and I had some good fights with Nick… Luckily, he had a problem and that made life easier. The team did a fantastic job to get this result today.

Going back to your fight with Kimi Raikkonen. When you saw him so close behind you in your mirrors, what did you think?
I felt completely in control. I could see he was running on the harder tires, and knew he would only be a threat at the end of the stint because of that. But I didn’t give him any opportunities to pass me. He wasn’t as fast in turn 11 and through the banking. I didn’t make any mistakes, and had a good pace; I might have held him up in absolute terms, but that’s racing.

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The secret to a good race
Qualifying. That's the secret to a good race, according to Ferrari's head of track operations, Luca Baldisserri. Speaking after the US Grand Prix at Indianapolis, where his two cars finished third and fourth behind the McLarens, Baldisserri explained "Qualifying is important, the race pace is also important. The problem is that being behind in qualifying means that we will have a difficult race and especially if we lose positions at the start.

"So being behind other cars, again, the performance of the car tends to decrease even more and because you are behind slow cars, you lose ten seconds in the first stint and it's nearly impossible to recover, even if you have better consistency in the car and in the tires."

Baldisserri's colleague, sporting director Stefano Domenicali certainly saw some positives in the 73 lap race, however, even though Kimi Raikkonen lost two places off the grid. "What we need to do is to make a good analysis of the start, to understand why we lost two positions. As we know, it's already difficult to start behind and then if you fall back behind other drivers, it's more difficult. But having said that, if you look at Kimi's race today it was really good.

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Williams Indy debrief
The AT&T Williams had a disappointing end to their North American campaign when a mechanical failure deprived the team of a points finish despite running a strategy and showing the pace to maintain the competitive form shown in Montreal a week prior.

When the team ran out in Friday’s morning practice session, both cars immediately found a positive balance despite the track being green. Wurz picked up where Nakajima had left off in the afternoon session but unfortunately lost significant track time when a gearbox oil leak intervened. In summary, the day was spent on routine activities such as mechanical set-up and deriving optimum wing levels and ran broadly to plan, with the team assessing early on that a one-stop plan was certainly feasible from a tire degradation perspective. The only downside to the day’s activities was the lack of track time afforded to Alex Wurz.

On Saturday, with the changing track conditions, the drivers reported less confidence with the balance despite the early progress made on Friday. Some last minute changes were made to roll stiffness, but going into the qualifying session, neither driver was quite as confident as they had been a day previously, which ultimately reflected in their qualifying performance.

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